Conservationists in upstate South Carolina have secured the purchase of a 955-acre tract of land adjacent to the 40,000-acre state-designated Mountain Bridge Wilderness area.The property, an undeveloped tract known as Gap Creek, is situated along Highway 25 between Jones Gap and Caesars Head state parks. It was purchased for $3.7 million by a group of local benefactors and will now be sold to the Nature Conservancy which will ultimately transfer the land to the South Carolina State Park system.Photo provided by the Nature ConservancyThe land is directly connected to Jones Gap and should be officially added to the popular state park sometime in 2018. The addition will increase the parks capacity to accommodate visitors and augment its overall size by approximately 25 percent.“Gap Creek is a dual gift for Upstate residents and visitors,” South Carolina state park director Phil Gaines told the Greenville News. “Its 955 acres include flat land that is ideal for more parking, facilities, trail heads and other visitor amenities. This property can help the park service meet its vision for expanding visitor service and making this wilderness area accessible to more South Carolinians.”The Mountain Bridge Wilderness AreaThe acquisition of Gap Creek will add to an already impressive swath of state-managed land known as the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. This 40,000-acre wilderness preserve stretches across South Carolina’s portion of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, forming a “bridge” between the Table Rock Reservoir and the Poinsett Reservoir— both protected watersheds for the city of Greenville. Both Jones Gap and Caesars Head State Park are situated within the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area.